Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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Morning Light at Ellis Island

   Fossil light.  That’s what astronomers call light from stars and galaxies in the past.  The site that I visited last week wasn’t that old, but light from 109 Piscium would be arriving from when they opened the hospital on Ellis Island.  I went out to Ellis Island with Joe McNally and the Nikon School.  Joe was kind to us and got us out to the south side of the island fairly quickly so we could get the morning light.

This was one of the doctor’s quarters on the island. As you can tell, this was serviceable for it’s era.

This picture was taken in natural light, just after sunrise. Thankfully we were able to use tripods. 

The south side of the island was where the hospital was, so those folks who were immigrating who were ill and curable, spent some time there before being introduced to the rest of the population. It had to be bittersweet feeling for the patients who were being treated.  Just another mile to get to New York City.  But once they were cured they could find a job and get their new start in the United States.

The group, Save Ellis Island is working on restoring the south side of the island. Joe McNally had taken photographs for National Geographic, in 1988 and those photographs showed a gone to nature landscape, with buildings in very sad shape. Our guides from Save Ellis Island were telling us that they were aiming at a stabilized ruin.  I think they have done a marvelous job.

 


As you can tell most of the windows were broken so most of the interiors had been exposed to the elements for years.  

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Freedom Tower

Spent some time looking at Freedom Tower tonight.

I took this picture around civi twilight. It was a nice balance between the twilight and the lights of the building. So for architectural photography, you don’t need to use HDR.

 

 

 

 

Earlier I was struck by the juxtaposition between the architecture of the mall and the Freedom Tower

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Looking for the ultimate amplifier

Last weekend we had our last Rocky Mountain International Audiofest show at the Marriott in the Tech Center.  The show will live on at another venue,

I always enjoy wandering this show, not only does it have some insanely good audio audio systems to listen to, and it has a number of folks who push the state of the art.

  I jest and tell people that my Little Dot MKIV SE wants to grow up to be this amplifier, but it really doesn’t.  There’s a world of difference between a Chinese headphone amp that’s designed for a specific price point, and this pictured Bob Carver amplifier that designed to be the state of the art.  

For those of you wonder, this amplifier is 75 W stereo amplifier.  It did sound very nice.

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Doors open Denver

A few weeks ago we had Doors open Denver.  For those of you who aren’t in Denver, a number of places open up to the public so you can see things you couldn’t normally see.

Mountain States Telephone Building

You can see this without going into the building, but I think the security guards were more forgiving of someone sitting on the ground and trying to get the right angle.

In the days of cell phones, I wonder how long it will be before folks forget that phone booths ever existed.

For our tour of the building, they brought us inside and showed us the executive offices and their museum.

One of the pictures I wanted to get was a nice picture of the inside of a cathedral.

St John’s

I have to thank the fellow who was patiently explaining the history of the church.  He was forgiving of me, once again sitting on the floor trying to get just the right angle.

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Point Reyes

You’ve got to admire the folks who ran lighthouses.
Typically when you need them most the weather is the worst. Considering that this lighthouse was in service it started out with an oil lamp, you couldn’t sleep through the night. So the folks who maintained it were truly shift workers.

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Edges of the day

I was out about 6 months ago with Catherine Etherton, and she was saying that you get your best photos on the edges of the day.

This was one of those evenings where I felt compelled to get the camera out and take pictures. To paraphrase Jay Maisel, you should always carry a camera with you. One of the advantages of the little Fuji X-100T is that it makes it easy. For those of you who keep track, this was underexposed by 1 stop to bring the colors out.

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Hawkquest Kestel

I still enjoy shooting digital. Earlier that day I took this picture of an American Kestel.

In her case, I was enjoying the delicate coloration.
With the D810, I can print much larger than I can with my 35mm film cameras.
To paraphrase Thom Hogan, there are no magic camera settings. In the case of the high resolution Nikons, they reward you by giving great results when you pay attention to good technique.

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Hawkquest Owl

One of the things I’ve been learning about is processing film. This photo was taken at a Hawkquest event using Ilford HP5+.

The folks at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center offer an Intro course for processing film and using an enlarger. The instructor, Michael Snively, is excellent at guiding you along and letting you explore.
This wasn’t my first try at this print, but I ended up doing some dodging and burning. I also took pictures of this Owl with my digital camera, but instead of bits whirring around my hard drive, this is silver on a print.
While I’ve got a number of digital tools to turn color digital images into black/white, I wondered if I should do some real film black and white work.

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Photographing Once in a Lifetime Events

Last week I was out with Gabe Biderman from National Parks at Night and a group of classmates photographing the Total Solar Eclipse.

Before the event I probably didn’t spend as much energy as my classmates trying to figure out the right exposures, I planned on seeing what the meter said and using that. Instead I just bracketed and figured I could pick the part of the experience I was interested in.
Here I was interested in the Solar Prominences. What appears to be small spots of red, are 10-100 times the size of the earth if you want to put into perspective.  This was one of my shorter exposures, 1/8000 of a second.  It separated the prominences from the corona. I know that others were bracketing since they wanted to show more of the corona.

I’m watching a class from David Hobby, and one of sections of his course is “Why do you take Pictures?”  In this case it’s to savor and share the experience.  From a scientific point of view, the folks at NASA were able to glean much more data from their jets in the stratosphere taking pictures of the eclipse.  For me, I will be able to look at these pictures and recall the emotions and this scene for the rest of my life. Having seen a partial eclipse in Chicago in the 60s, I had seen the moon obscuring parts of the sun.  But a total eclipse shows so much more.  As one of my friends says, watching a total eclipse will change your life.  I don’t know if it will change my life, but I feel much richer for having seen it.

I will say that it was the shortest two minutes I’ve spent lately. It reminds me of the days when I taking pictures of Space Shuttle launches, you end up spending your time dealing with the mechanics of documenting the event.


Here’s one of the pictures I took that shows the Solar Corona. The corona isn’t as bright, so you can’t see the prominences.

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Orthodox Churches

Last weekend, I went out for a tour of some Orthodox Churches in Globeville with the Denver Architectural Foundation.
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The folks on the tour were understanding of the fact that when they walked away to listen to Mr. Gallagher, I was off taking pictures, and I caught up with them. They were some beautiful churches. And since I hadn’t studied comparative religions since I was in high school it was wonderfully educational as well.